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Gun-Free Bars: Good Sense, or Infringement?



Where does your right to defend yourself disappear? .05. .08, or .1?


Sometimes I witness a dumpster fire so spectacular that I am compelled to write about it. This go-round somebody brought up the fact that it is perfectly legal to consume a moderate amount of alcohol and drive home (depending on your state limit), however, you better not have a gun on you while you get yourself as close to that legal limit as possible. There were some great arguments for both sides, as some states have a zero-tolerance for carrying, some have a defined limit of intoxication while carrying, and some don’t even address it at all!


Before I go any further, let me state explicitly that I am in no way, shape, or form advocating the use of alcohol or drugs, in any amount, during any shooting activities. This includes basic maintenance, like cleaning. I am a firm believer that the two have no place together. 


Of course, if you’re forced into a defensive situation after you have already enjoyed a few cocktails, that’s a different story. Hey, maybe the altercation has happened at your home after a long day and you had no plans of picking up a gun until a threat appeared. Does that mean you have to live your life sober because you own a gun?


Moving forward, the above legal contradiction does deserve a little evaluation, as the same people write both the driving-while-intoxicated and the CCW laws. In some of these states, they believe that even a sip of alcohol is too much to merely have a pistol accessible, let alone use it. The same group, however, believes that when it comes to manipulating a 2,000-lb. vehicle, you can have a little buzz but are still “good enough.” Kinda crazy when you think about it.


The idea of course is that bars are often scenes of violence. After working in bars and restaurants for over a decade, I certainly cannot deny that. Lawmakers are concerned that if a disagreement breaks out, a gun is available to be introduced into the situation. Peaceful people often get beer muscles the second they THINK somebody is looking at their wife. There are many Jekyll and Hyde drinkers—hell, I’ve seen a tipsy pastor take a swing at somebody once! The effects of alcohol are often unpredictable. However, the basis of this law is built on “what if,” and that is an emotional response, not a logical response. In reality, arguments seldom escalate to the point that a firearm is introduced … but I digress.


“What if” laws are direct attacks at both our common sense and our freedoms. I have witnessed hundreds, if not thousands of arguments in bars. Seldom do they turn physical, let alone end in a shooting. Truth be told, a beer bottle is the easiest accessible weapon, often still in the offender’s hand (s). However, when push comes to shove (literally) very few people try to kill the other party to prove their point.


While “protection” is the goal of these laws, they put law-abiding citizens in a bad spot. I have made the choice not to drink when I am carrying a gun, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating chicken wings. (When it comes to wings, if you aren’t eating them past 10 p.m., you simply aren’t living your life right.)


So, let’s say I’m at my local bar for the late-night appetizer special. Suddenly XYZ comes in looking to loot both the register and the tip jar. It’s highly likely, as the restaurant isn’t busy and all the money to be made that night is already in the till. While I had no intention of drinking, the state I might be in may require me to leave my pistol home. Now what? Will the perp just take the money and leave? Will he shoot whoever saw him? I don’t know, I sure hope not.

Unfortunately, these laws have made “hope” my only option.


Remember bars are optional. If the crowd is that rough or the location that sketchy, one always has the option of visiting another establishment. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do much for the staff. If your locale doesn’t make exceptions for employees of bars, be sure to get on that. I have more than one story of a waitress who has been mugged behind the restaurant during a smoke break.


Personally, I avoid bars with young crowds. It’s my decision. I do this because I like to avoid the riff-raff that usually comes with that age group. Sorry if I have offended our younger readers, but I have broken up far more fights at the “18 to party, 21 to drink” places than I have in the 21+ strictly enforced spots.


What about gun-free establishments? This is where property rights and self-defense rights are in direct contradiction, and that’s tough. As a business owner myself, I respect the right to run your business the way YOU want with minimal government interference. I simply don’t frequent the establishments that deny my right to carry. It’s American freedom. I eat and drink where I want, and they get the environment and clientele they want. No hard feelings, I will gladly take my business elsewhere.



  1. Steve A White

    March 23, 2022 at 10:28 am

    You are not responsible for the protection of others, except in certain circumstances. Alcohol and guns do not mix. I don’t want to see an establishment robbed, but people turn into idiots when drinking, and most don’t realize that. In my opinion, you are much more likely to have patrons shooting each other than you are to be involved in a robbery.

    • Methane

      March 23, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      I carry and rarely get so drunk to make bad decisions. Too many Jekyls in Austin at night.

    • George Vess

      March 23, 2022 at 1:18 pm

      What if’s don’t exist, it only exists for those people who live in their own little bubble fairy land. Possible, probable, etc.are closely related to what if. However, they are useful tools for people with wisdom (not liberals), to make good life decisionsm

  2. TwanGeezer

    March 23, 2022 at 10:42 am

    You have NO Constitutional Right to entrance to a private business establishment! They can literally set their own rules for entry. Remember Studio 54?

    • Herb

      March 23, 2022 at 11:02 am

      Yes, I remember Studio 54. My take on this if a business, or government agency, refuses to let me carry, THEY become completely responsible for my safety and they damn well better keep me safe.

      • Twangeezer

        March 23, 2022 at 11:48 am

        That goes without saying.

        • Herb

          March 24, 2022 at 1:38 am

          Not in todays world…

  3. Glenn

    March 23, 2022 at 11:08 am

    Alcohol and guns do not mix. I simply stay away from establishments I perceive could be a troublesome.

  4. Peter

    March 23, 2022 at 11:14 am

    How silly that regular/habitual consumers of alcohol can purchase firearms but not marijuana users. More gun crimes and accidents occur by those using alcohol than those using marijuana. I trust a relaxed “stoned” person with a firearm more than I do a drunk with a firearm. American two-faced hypocrisy in action. When will we truly become a free nation of free people? End the war on drugs once and for all!

    • Bill

      March 23, 2022 at 11:44 am

      Stay away from bars. Nothing good ever happens there.

      • TwanGeezer

        March 23, 2022 at 11:51 am

        LOL. As a retired lifetime pro musician, mostly in NYC, I don’t miss them.

    • Alan

      March 23, 2022 at 12:49 pm

      Quite frankly I don’t want a drunk or a stoner handling a gun in close proximity to me. Perhaps why I’ve survived two wars zones with none of my comrades drunk handling around me ! Just saying !

    • Ranger

      March 23, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      “Responsible” gun owners are responsible drinkers.
      “Irresponsible” drinkers are irresponsible gun owners.
      Emphasis on the R word.

  5. Art

    March 23, 2022 at 11:49 am

    Few realize the amount of alcohol in Illinois with a CDL in their pocket is .04 “NOT .08 as standard drivers!

  6. Timothy Reams

    March 23, 2022 at 11:57 am

    I agree that Firearms and Alcohol should never be together at any time. Unless you are breaking into my home or endangering my family. However since I quite drinking about 25 years ago, I don’t worry about it. I have gone into Restaurants with Bars, I ask to bed seated in the Restaurant area. I have picked up a few friends at bars, no charge just happy they weren’t driving. Then taken some back the next day to retrieve the vehicle.
    However if you go shooting or hunting with me there will be no alcohol before or during either. Afterwards have all you want.

  7. john furlong

    March 23, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    No guns in bars

  8. Eric Robinson

    March 23, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    The 2Amendment was meant to regulate the givernment, not to regulate the lives of individuals. Technically speaking, a private individual or business cannot violate a constitutional right. Only government can. Business owners should set policy for their private property/enterprise, and consumers should decide whether or NOT to patronize those businesses.

    • Bruce Clark

      March 23, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      Seems you have it ass backwards,The bill of rights is a list of things that forbid the government from infringing, it isn’t about individual rights of citizens. Educate yourself, read the Federalist papers, written by the framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      • Lee Edwards

        March 23, 2022 at 4:20 pm

        The Constitution, including the Amendments, enumerates what the federal government is allowed or must do. The Bill of Rights gives examples of what the federal government is NOT allowed to do and explains that in the 9th and 10th Amendments. Our federal government routinely ignores these restrictions, but more to the question raised by this article. I believe education and training beginning in Pre-K and continuing through grade 12 and beyond is the real key to firearm safety. Every public school should have a rifle, pistol, trap, skeet and archery range on its property or available for school training in hunting and competition. Yes, there will always be someone who will ignore the rules and use a weapon unsafely or illegally just as there will always be someone who will drive a car unsafely or illegally. Punish the wrongdoer and care for the victim but do not punish those who obey the rules.

  9. Woody W Woodward

    March 23, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    The 2nd and 14th Amendments specifically address government- – not individuals. A home owner, business owner, or property owner has always had the right to place conditions upon those who desire to enter or remain on his/her premises. Americans have – – at least in the past – – have been taught by their elders to respect property rights. If someone advises me that he/she doesn’t want me on his/her property, I do not enter – – armed or otherwise. Problem solved.

  10. Wolf

    April 19, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    I’ve been an avid shooter since high school. As a young man I was a shooting instructor for teenagers and later also in the army. I’m licensed to carry a concealed gun. In this crazy day and age I don’t go anywhere without my gun, as I won’t be a helpless victim waiting to be shot by some nutcase! However, I realize that Guns and Alcohol should be treated like Driving and Alcohol. It’s just too dangerous to have someone intoxicated with a loaded gun around, as alcohol diminishes clear thinking and removes moral barriers. I also believe that the owner of his home, business or bar should be allowed to decide over allowing guns to be brought in or not. Just my humble opinion.

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